Events

Bowing to the Buddha

Bowing to the Buddha

The Revd. Nagahama (first right) bows to the Buddha at a Peace Pagoda ceremony in Milton Keynes. He came from Japan for the ceremony.

The Monday Photo

Ten years ago I was proud to be the official photographer for the 30th Peace Pagoda ceremony in Milton Keynes. Monks and nuns of the Nipponzan Myohoji Buddhist order came from all over the world, to this most important event at their temple by Willen lake.

They are the ones in white and saffron yellow. Monks or nuns from other Buddhist orders wear different colours.

It was a great day but a long one. Photographing an event like this meant I was on duty nearly all day long, then in the days following were hours of editing and processing.

I think I took about 700 photos that day, but in the end I gave the temple 366 photos, all on CDs and ready to print.

A few weeks later, one of the nuns went up to Boots the chemist in Central Milton Keynes with the CDs and had hundreds of prints made, to send out to anybody the temple knew that had been there on the day. In those quantities the prints cost pennies each.

I believe the Revd. Nagahama received a full set, as the Milton Keynes temple and Pagoda were under his control back then; they still are.

Everyone else would be sent any photos they appeared in, plus maybe a few general shots. I took the photos for over forty temple events and enjoyed it, though in the end I felt it was time I had a break.

Why did I choose this photo for today? Because the long awaited 40th Pagoda Ceremony should have been yesterday.

Oh well. Maybe next year I can take the ceremony photos again; it’s bound to be a great event.


Stony is Quiet Tonight

Simply Floyd front manMartin of Simply Floyd, at the Cock Hotel.

By today, I would usually expect to be very tired. I would have been out every night since Saturday to see live music, at Stony Stratford’s annual Stony Live event.

I miss it. I’ve been out to Stony Stratford in the evenings, to take photos of all the closed up pubs for my Distance Project, which covers the changes the lockdown has made to our lives. 

The town, usually busy with live music fans at this time of year, was strangely quiet. So here, just to help keep you going until next year, are some unpublished photos from 2019. There's also a couple of shots from the Folk on the Green event, also in Stony Stratford in June.

Stony Live will be back next year.

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Support the Flag

Free Tibet

The Monday Photo

A young boy holds the flag of Tibet, at the Raising of the Tibetan Flag ceremony in Milton Keynes.

The event in 2015 was the first to be held at the Buddhist temple at Willen. This year, Sister Maruta of the Buddhist Nipponzan Myohoji order raised the flag in a small ceremony with just the occupants of the temple present.

In previous years, Tibetan people have brought flags and made a day of it, and owners of Tibetan Terriers brought their dogs.

Tibet has been occupied by Communist China since 1949, when the Chinese People’s Liberation Army entered the country. They claim that Tibet has been part of China for 800 years, but Tibet had its own national flag, currency, passports and stamps.

They also had an army, signed international treaties, and maintained diplomatic relations with neighbouring countries.

Now the people of Tibet are subject to human rights abuses and free speech is denied them. The organisation Free Tibet campaigns for an end to China's occupation.


On Fire

Pyrofinilia

The Monday Photo

It’s the evening of the Summer Solstice 2017, and as the sun drops towards the horizon, the Pyrofinalia Fire Collective are holding a free performance, at the Peace Pagoda in Milton Keynes.

The Fire Collective are fire performers, jugglers, and aerialists, based in Milton Keynes.


Weathering North Bucks

Here’s a few shots from last week. There's a bit of a theme...

Pebble Alcove  StoweThis is the Pebble Alcove in the 18th Century gardens of Stowe. It was built in about 1737 and decorated like an Italian grotto; coloured pebbles are set into the rendering. It’s very charming, and as we found on a family picnic, the alcove is practical too; it can hold quite a few people when it rains.

The Peace Pagoda with bicyclesLater that day I was at Willen in Milton Keynes, for Hiroshima Day the 6th August each year. Usually the lantern ceremony is up at the Peace Pagoda, (in the background) then the lanterns are taken down the steps and floated out on to the Lake. This year, because of the dodgy weather, the ceremony was in the temple.
I stood and waited for the lantern procession and watched the cyclists.

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Who Are Those Folk on the Green?

Dancing at Folk on the Green

It’s not widely advertised, but on one Sunday each June Horsefair Green in Stony Stratford is closed to vehicles, a stage is erected, and Folk on the Green begins.

It was the 47th Folk on the Green this year, and ten acts performed on the stage, including students from the MK Rock School. Stalls sold jewellery, beer, or tea and coffee, or you could have your face painted. There were food stalls, and an ice cream van.

Congregation members of the Stony Stratford Community Church gave out free bottles of water; their church is on Horsefair Green. Folk sat and listened, or got up to dance, or bumped into friends they hadn’t seen for a while; I did. Children ran about.

For a change, I concentrated on taking photos of the audience, not the musicians. There are some very interesting people attending this festival.

Well done to all the volunteers who took so much trouble to produce this fine event. It’s free entry, but the festival cost over £6,500 to hold this year; volunteers come round asking for donations during the day. I’m looking forward to next year’s event.

Two girls talking

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